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Calif., Nev. catching up with robust loan growth
ONTARIO, Calif. (8/21/14)--Loan growth at California and Nevada credit unions has surged recently, with both states posting numbers that haven't been recorded since before the Great Recession.

In California, credit unions nearly doubled their first quarter rate of loan growth, posting a 4% increase, which is the best second quarter for the state since 2007 ( CU Weekly Aug. 18).

Auto loans fueled the increase, with new-vehicle lending up 17.6%--nearly matching the national year-over-year increase of 19.4%--and used-auto loans increasing 8.1%. Mortgage-loan growth jumped 5.6% as well.

Dwight Johnston, chief economist for the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues, told News Now that California lagged behind the rest of the country in recovering from the recession, and that the state is just now realizing the gains the rest of the country experienced previously.

"It's essentially California playing catch up," Johnston said. "(We've seen) a lot of growth in higher-paying jobs, and that's translated into better numbers this year."

Further, savings at California credit unions ticked up 3% in the first half of 2014 and are up 3.6% year-over-year. Credit union membership in the state has climbed 0.9% so far in 2014.

Credit unions in Nevada watched overall loan growth jump 4.7% in the second quarter, according to numbers from the Credit Union National Association, pushing up growth for all of 2014 to 5.1%.

And in Nevada, which took a similar economic hit to California, the economy is just now starting to catch up, according to Johnston.

"Nevada's biggest sector, travel and leisure, makes up more than 30% of workforce," Johnston told News Now . "It's now just recovered back to pre-recession levels."

While the majority of credit unions in the United States have seen growth driven largely by auto loans, credit card loans led the way in Nevada, with card balances climbing 7.2% in the first two quarters of the year.

Used-vehicle loans rose 5.9%, meanwhile, first mortgages increased 4.4% and new vehicles edged up 2.3%.

Deposits also climbed in Nevada, as balances jumped 0.6% in the second quarter, with savings account balances increasing 3.6% in the first six months of the year.


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